As we take on a new year, you may be searching for something that gives you a renewed sense of purpose. Why not try something life-changing? With the Make-A-Wish Trailblaze Challenge, you’ll embark on a unique endurance hiking adventure while directly impacting the lives of Alabama children battling critical illnesses. Read on to find out how YOU can become a trailblazer (no hiking experience needed!).
About the Trailblaze challenge
Make-A-Wish Alabama is a local nonprofit that creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses in our community.
Now on its 7th year, the Trailblaze Challenge is back. This fun event is truly an adventure with a purpose, created to mimic the tough journey that Make-A-Wish kids endure.
When you sign up to become a Trailblazer, you’ll train over the course of 12 weeks to hike 26.3 miles in one day on the beautiful Pinhoti Trail. Along the way, you’ll make long-lasting friendships, put your endurance to the test and make a difference in your community.
I know what you’re thinking. “Me? Hiking 26.3 miles in one day? No way.” It may seem intimidating, but the Trailblaze Challenge caters to all levels—whether you’re a novice or an advanced outdoor enthusiast.
On the “big hike,” there are aid stations set up all along the trail with food, water, medical support and everything else you may need to take on the challenge.
“26.3 miles. 9.5 hours. I came into this knowing no one, and left with friends who feel more like family. It was tough. It was beautiful. I found a bit of myself along the way that I did not even realize was missing.”Cari Gelderman, Trailblazer + Wish Mom
Step into the adventure
As you train with fellow adventurers, you’ll receive full support from experienced hike leaders and Make-A-Wish staff. You’ll also be provided the essential tools to help you raise much-needed funds for wish kids in Alabama.
“I can promise you that the relationships you make with other Trailblazers, the mental and physical health benefits to you and the sheer joy of seeing kids get a life-changing wish granted will be an experience you will never forget.”Teri Lott, Trailblazer
Last year’s challenge left major boots to fill, smashing Make-A-Wish’s fundraising goal with a whopping $1,162,151. The 2022 Trailblaze Challenge is now one of the most successful charity events in the state and the first event of its kind in the nation to break $1 million in a single season.
Currently, over 275 children in the state of Alabama are waiting on a wish. A wish gives children renewed energy and strength, brings families closer together and unites communities.
More than 990 adventurers have taken on the challenge to date. Will you step into the adventure next?
Are you ready to change lives?
Now that you’ve heard what the challenge is all about, it’s time to take the next step and become a Trailblazer.
First, you’ll have to attend a free, mandatory info session. Don’t worry—there’s no commitment attached. These sessions are held on various dates between January 12 and January 26 in the Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile areas.
At the sessions, you’ll learn about the Make-A-Wish mission, hear from Trailblaze staff + hikers who have completed the challenge, as well as meet a wish family.
Info sessions fill up quickly—RSVP today to reserve your spot. Info sessions will be canceled if the event sells out prior to the meeting date, so don’t let this life-changing opportunity pass you by! The deadline to register is January 26, 2023.
“Training your body and your mind to do a hard thing is one of the best types of challenges—second only to one that pushes you for the betterment of others. As we say in Trailblaze, children with critical illnesses don’t get to choose their hard thing, but we do. I’m grateful for the chance to choose this one.”Beth Cunningham, Trailblazer
Make-A-Wish Alabama has seen participants in their teens to age 75+ complete the hike, even people who had never hiked before. The Trailblaze Challenge is waiting to show you that you’re capable of more than you ever believed.
Become a Trailblazer with Make-A-Wish Alabama today.